Friday, February 17, 2006

spiritual formation in contempory contexts

Last night we held a Life Party in the foyer at Opawa Baptist. 25 people gathering to sip on lattes and sparkling grapejuice, to hear stories around Growth Coaching, and to leave cheese and biscuit crumbs on the carpet.

koru2.jpg For the last 18 months I have been part of developing Growth Coaching. Most spiritual formation is book and programmed based; you take a course that is full of words. The content tends to expose a narrow understanding of spirituality. Turn up 2 weeks late and you have to wait for next time.

Growth coaching is one-on-one spiritual partnership. I wanted something that breathed of life to the full. It had to be relational. It had to encourage whole of life development. It had to be creatively adaptive, suitable for all types of learners, not just book-focused people. It had to be accessible, easy to enter, no matter where you where or when you turned up.

The first meeting involves a self-audit; 99 questions which are designed to enable a person to reflect on the whole of their life.

In a second meeting, a Growth Coach, having listened and prayed, tentatively offers a vision of a new future. If this vision resonates, then together a path forward is planned. Accountability steps and a timeline are inserted. This could include naming an “encourager”, a cheer leader type, who is invited to text, email or phone support. Each programme is tailored and unique.

Theologically this approach believes in the imago dei, that the image of God is inside humans. It believes in the Spirit to cause growth. It values the relational community, God at work through human partnerships.

At the Life Party last night we heard stories of how Growth coaching has grown people. Stories were shared; of love poems written to spouses and new ways of being spiritual and peacefully centred at work, of the courage to grow and the unpredictable Spirit at work. In a world of cynicism, last night was a rare privilege.

The Life Party will hopefully become an annual event at Opawa, a chance to celebrate growth. Growth Coaching is now one year old. We have trained 8 Coaches over a 8 week period and seen 8 people Growth coached. Last night 4 more people enquired about being trained as a Growth Coach and 5-8 others enquired about being Growth coached.

For a sermon on a biblical narrative of growth coaching (Luke 1:39-45) go here:

For an newspaper article on Growth Coaching, go here.

Posted by steve at 08:03 PM


  1. Steve – thanks for this I’m quite interested in the self audit, is the material in-house or is it available elsewhere?

    Comment by gordon — February 17, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

  2. Yep, yep, just added the link Gordon. What we did was a number of us kept a pad by our side over about a month and just wrote down any and all questions that came to us, and then we collated and grouped them. Norma Marriott was a key person in this process.

    Comment by steve — February 17, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

  3. Thanks

    Comment by gordon — February 17, 2006 @ 10:43 pm

  4. thanks for sharing this with us, steve.
    always interested in the way spiritual formation happens in communities around the world.
    would be very cool to hang out some – are you planning to be in germany this year?

    Comment by [depone] — February 17, 2006 @ 11:01 pm

  5. Hi Steve – love the 99 questions – a thought for one of them – you mention tv, movies and internet and whether the participant feels they use those in an uplifting manner – can I suggest adding “computer games”?

    I’ve been thinking about a couple I play from time to time and I’m not so keen on them anymore for content reasons…

    Just a thought…


    Comment by Randall — February 20, 2006 @ 10:42 am

  6. Thanks for posting resource ideas on your site. It’s helpful and I encourage you, Steve, to continue these particular kinds of posts. Furthermore, I would love to see another batch of ideas/resources that further develop growth coaching.

    Comment by Preston — February 24, 2006 @ 7:29 am

  7. This is really interesting. What a great way to work on discipleship.

    Comment by Nuno Barreto — February 25, 2006 @ 12:26 am

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